Some Discussion about Designs that Work with the Universe




Designs That Work With the Universe.  While I'm on these topics, that hopefully some junior and senior system designers find interesting, I want to get into another set of issues regarding how homo nish (supposedly) sapiens relates to this universe.  As usual, I will ramble quite a bit, but hopefully the rambling will get to some things of importance.

While I think that "designs that work with the universe" is a very broad category of issues I am going to focus more on some energy aspects.  I can think of a multiplicity of tangents I could address just about energy sources and their uses by humans.  But I want to limit my discussion at least somewhat so, for smallish example,

  • What percentages of U.S. oil actually comes from what sources?
  • If one oil source, which might actually be a relatively small source, decreases production how does it work that they get the entire blame for prices increasing?  Isn't everyone actually raising their prices?  If these other sources were really such good people wouldn't there be several other things they could do to help protect everyone else from such goings on?
  • At any given point in time who are all the sources that are adjusting their production?
  • Whose profits actually increase and how much?  For example, if the price of oil increases due to production cutbacks by some source(s), should distributor's also really be increasing their prices beyond those caused by the increase in "raw material" costs?
  • Why is it so difficult to find out answers to these questions in the press?
  • Why aren't we doing more to develop alternative sources of energy?

Now I want to get to what I'm really interested in doing more with.  Though again, this is a relatively limited presentation.  Before I get rambling I want to give a couple links.  One of the biggest and most general sources related to this is the DOE - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.  This source has a perspective on a lot of these issues and gets into far more depth and breadth than I will in this page.

But, at present, I want to focus on one particular form of energy in order to start illustrating some general issues about designs that work with the universe.  Geothermal energy can be used in many more ways than most people are familiar with.  A very good link is sourced by the GEO - Geothermal Education Office.

Have you ever toured some caverns, for example maybe in Kentucky USA, Virginia USA or Belgium?  One of the things they are likely to tell you as you start the tour is that the air stays at a pretty constant temperature year around, pretty much regardless of the season or climate.  The temperature is likely to be in the 55F ~ 13C range (pardon my approximations).  This is primarily due to geothermal energy.

It is relatively inexpensive and unobtrusive to the overall environment to make use of geothermal heat pumps to transfer this temperature to radiant in-floor heating/cooling or even forced air heating/cooling.  Any other temperature adjustments that are required can then be relative to this 55F ~ 13C range rather than the outside temperature or other influences.  Now, how this is actually implemented involves much more detail than I want to get into for this very general discussion of basic principles.  But I consider this to be a very good example of how something quite ubiquitous can be used for needs that have become fairly ubiquitous.

Why I'm blabbering about this is to make sure that people that found this page interesting enough to read this far are at least familiar with such basic concepts.  There are an awful lot of upsides to such approaches with much much smaller downsides!  There should also be some exceptional business potential for many such work with the universe designs.